1Department of Radiology, MRI, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Management decisions for patients with prostate cancer present a dilemma for both patients and their clinicians because prostate cancers demonstrate a wide range in biologic activity, with the majority of cases not leading to a prostate cancer related death. Furthermore, the current treatment options have significant side effects, such as incontinence, rectal injury and impotence. Key elements for guiding appropriate treatment include: distinction of organ-confined disease from extracapsular extension (ECE); and determination of tumor volume and tumor grade, none of which have been satisfactorily accomplished in today's pre-treatment paradigm. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has the capability to assess prostate tissue, both functionally and morphologically. MRI as a staging tool has not shown enough consistency or sufficient accuracy for widespread adoption in clinical practice; yet, recent technical developments in MRI have yielded improved results. At our institution we have combined the use of new endorectal 3 Tesla MRI technology, T2-weighted, and high spatial resolution dynamic-contrast enhanced (DCE) MRI to non-invasively assess the prostate with higher signal-to-noise ratio and spatial resolution than previously achieved. This approach allows assessment of prostate-tissue morphology and kinetics, thus providing a non-invasive tool for tumor detection and staging and, consequently, directing biopsy and treatment specifically to diseased areas for a pre-treatment evaluation that can assist in the rational selection of patients for appropriate prostate cancer therapy.